TO THE EDITOR:
I read with interest the interview with Bishop Tobin about the first six months of Pope Francis’ papacy.
My overriding impression is that our bishop is a master practitioner of “Irish Diplomacy.”
It would be interesting to know the bishop’s thoughts about Pope Francis and the used autos and his driving himself within the Vatican. It was reported that his newest ride is a “29 year old beater with 186,000 miles” and many of the comments on the internet are from non-Catholics and atheists who have said they have more respect for Francis than any other pope.
Pope Benedict was an intellectual giant and dubbed “God’s Rottweiler.” Francis, while perhaps not at the same level intellectually is, after all, a Jesuit which means he is a pretty bright fellow. And despite what some think, his conservative credentials are intact.
If Bishop Tobin has concerns about the perceived lack of statements condemning abortion emanating from Francis, he should be reminded of the ongoing and public disagreements with the Argentinean president on contraception and abortion when he said “A pregnant woman is not carrying a toothbrush in her womb, or a tumor. Science shows us that the entire genetic code is present from the moment of conception. It’s not therefore a religious issue but scientifically based morality, because we are in the presence of a human being.” He also said of women after having an abortion “You need to be in the confession box and listen to those giant dramas because they know they have killed their child.”
I have been blessed with an education from both Franciscans and Jesuits. The former’s perspective was the heart, the latter’s the head. How wise of the Pope with the Jesuit intellect to choose to lead like St. Francis.
Francis not only talks the talk, he walks the walk and his inclusive love will attract more converts to Catholicism than through theological debates. Catholics and non-Catholics alike see Francis as a true follower of Jesus who lived a simple life and taught that people are more important than rules and rituals. He leads us by example. God bless him!
THOMAS J. NEAGLE